FACTS/FLUKES: Hoskins, Inciarte, O'Neill, Teheran, Martinez

Hoskins a reliable power source... Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI) had lofty expectations in 2018 after a monster debut during the final two months of 2017. He took a step back, but still finished with 34 homers and 96 RBI. He is on pace for slightly better numbers in 2019 (35/104), including a better batting average. Can owners expect more of the same, or is there another level Hoskins can get to?

Year   AB  HR/SB    BA   xBA  bb%/ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX  xPX  hr/f  Spd 
====  ===  =====  ====  ====  =======  ========  ==  ====  ===  ===  ====  ===
2016* 498  31/6   .240   N/A   10/71      N/A    28   N/A  144  N/A   N/A   82
2017^ 571  45/5   .258  .288   14/76   31/24/45  26   143  160  178   32%   85
2018  558  34/5   .246  .256   13/73   29/19/52  28    93  157  145   16%   73
2019  373  23/1   .260  .255   17/71   27/22/51  31   113  149  147   17%  121
*MLEs
^Includes MLEs

His skills haven't changed much at all from 2018 to 2019:

  • Hoskins is still hitting more than half of his balls in play in the air, and making a lot of hard contact. Though his 2017 second half xPX and hr/f have proven to be unsustainable, he should continue to provide close to his current level of power production, which is still plenty valuable.
  • He has a very patient approach at the plate, as he's swinging at the 10th fewest pitches among all qualified hitters, and fewest in the National League. This approach leads to a lot of deep counts and an extremely high walk rate, but even with an excellent O-Swing%, he strikes out quite a bit.
  • An increase in strikeouts has been offset by more line drives, leading to some BA improvement, but a near identical xBA that lies close to where his BA should continue to settle.
  • A surprising four triples has boosted his Spd score, but Hoskins ranks in the 30th percentile in sprint speed, and has been caught on six of 11 attempts since the beginning of last season. Therefore, don't count on much from him as far as steals go.

Hoskins hasn't quite been able to replicate the immense power he showed following his call-up in 2017, but he's still showing excellent power, combining an extreme fly ball tilt with a lot of hard contact. A .250-.260 BA with a high OBP and mid-thirties home runs looks like his baseline, and given his home park, which increases RHB HR by 24%, getting to 40 homers at some point is certainly possible. 

 

Can Inciarte provide value down the stretch?... Ender Inciarte (OF, ATL) was dropped in many leagues while he was out for more than two months with a back injury. Even as he inched closer to a return, it wasn't clear where he would find consistent at-bats in a crowded outfield mix. However, an injury to Nick Markakis and an Austin Riley slump have cleared the path for him to lock down a regular role again. Can he take advantage?

Year   AB  HR/SB    BA   xBA  bb%/ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX  PX  Spd/SBO  SB%
====  ===  =====  ====  ====  =======  ========  ==  ====  ==  =======  ===
2015  524   6/21  .303  .284    5/89   52/22/26  33   102  66  129/21%  68%
2016  522   3/16  .291  .275    8/87   49/24/27  33    80  53  157/14%  70%
2017  667  11/22  .304  .274    7/86   47/24/29  34    77  57  135/15%  71%
2018  597  10/28  .265  .269    7/86   45/24/31  30   100  65  121/26%  67%
2019  150   4/5   .227  .280    9/79   53/24/22  26    91  75  103/16%  83%

Inciarte's batting average should be on the rise:

  • He's striking out a lot more than usual in 2019, but the line drive stroke remains intact. He may not be a .300 hitter anymore, but both his lengthy track record and current xBA suggest he's in store for a hit rate correction and BA surge.
  • He has always possessed well-above-average speed, but hasn't been the most efficient base runner, with a 68% success rate over the past four seasons. The speed has fallen to about league average this season, including a 43rd percentile sprint speed, but he has been successful on five of his six attempts.
  • He has reached double-digit home runs the past two seasons, but weak power metrics across the board and a low fly ball rate indicate that the 11 home runs he hit in 2017 is pretty close to his upside.

Inciarte has been a disappointment this season, due to a combination of a lot of missed time, a much lower batting average than usual, and the fact he has hit eighth in the order for much of the year, where he has a five percent SBO for his career. He has a 36% SBO in all other lineup spots, albeit in a very small sample, and even in the seventh spot, where he's hit the last two games, has a 27% mark for his career. Inciarte may not see a lot of action against lefties, but the batting average should climb, and as long as he stays out of the eight hole, he should be a solid speed source as well. He should be worth owning in most formats, especially for owners in need of batting average and steals. 

 

Strikeouts still a concern for O'Neill... Tyler O'Neill (OF, STL) has been fairly productive since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis, as he's hit .278/.316/.437 with five home runs in 126 at-bats. Is this level of performance something that should be expected from him going forward?

Year    AB  HR/SB    BA   xBA  bb%/ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX  xPX  hr/f  Spd
====   ===  =====  ====  ====  =======  ========  ==  ====  ===  ===  ====  ===
2016*  492  22/11  .272   N/A   10/66   36/18/46  37   N/A  135  N/A   N/A   90
2017*  495  25/12  .222   N/A    8/68   34/23/43  28   N/A  131  N/A   N/A   94
2018^  368  28/4   .265  .240    7/64   29/23/48  33   107  179  169   25%  117
19 AAA 142  11/3   .261   N/A    7/68   33/25/42  30   N/A  N/A  N/A   28%  N/A
​19 MLB 126   5/1   .278  .217    5/64   37/23/40  39   103  100  102   16%   88

O'Neill is having trouble putting the ball in play consistently:

  • He's swinging at 39% of pitches out of the zone (per FanGraphs), well above the league average rate of 31%, and his O-Contact% is seventh lowest in the majors (Min. 100 PA). He also boasts the eighth lowest Z-Contact%, resulting in the third lowest overall Contact%, and his 21% SwK is nearly double the league average.
  • O'Neill has benefited from an extremely high hit rate, and xBA shows he has deserved a much lower average. On a positive note, he entered Wednesday with just 11 strikeouts in his last 52 at-bats, and a 74% contact rate for the entire month of July.
  • He showed tremendous power in 2018, which made up for the contact woes, but isn't showing as much pop in 2019. While small sample caveats do apply, in addition to the large dip in PX and xPX, Statcast data shows that his Barrel % has dropped from 23% to 8%, and his xSlg has gone from .483 to .402 this season.
  • He possesses pretty good speed, and is 35 for 40 on the bases since the beginning of the 2016 season. He has attempted just one stolen base in the majors this season, though, and three in 275 plate appearances going back to 2018, so he isn't likely to swipe more than a couple bags the rest of the way.

O'Neill has shown excellent power in the past, and went on a streak in the middle of July when he hit four home runs in a five game span, but his power metrics are down this season, and the strikeouts remain a problem. He has cut down on the strikeouts the past couple of weeks, but has had a lot of trouble making contact for most of the season, and the recent increase in contact rate may be affecting his power, as he has no extra base hits in his last 40 at-bats. O'Neill's track record says we can bank on the plus power returning, but his batting average is likely to drop off significantly once his hit rate normalizes.  

 

Teheran defying the odds... Julio Teheran (RHP, ATL) has been on a nice little run lately, delivering a 1.48 ERA over his last five starts, lowering his ERA for the year down to 3.38. Is there reason to believe he can keep it up?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl  Dom  Cmd  FpK/SwK   Vel    G/L/F   H%/S%  hr/f  BPV
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ===  =======  ====  ========  =====  ====  ===
2015  201  4.04  4.15  3.3  7.7  2.3  57%/11%  91.2  40/24/36  29/73   13%   68
2016  188  3.21  4.01  2.0  8.0  4.1  62%/11%  90.9  39/19/42  27/74   10%  108
2017  188  4.49  4.94  3.4  7.2  2.1  64%/10%  91.4  40/20/40  29/72   14%   55
2018  176  3.94  4.52  4.3  8.3  1.9  61%/12%  89.8  38/20/42  22/72   13%   49
2019  125  3.38  4.90  4.0  8.2  2.0  60%/10%  89.8  39/21/40  27/77   10%   56

Teheran's skills don't come close to supporting this level of success:

  • He has been a decent source of strikeouts, but the velocity remains down, and he's getting fewer swings and misses than usual. He whiffed 24% of batters during his hot five-game stretch, but an eight percent SwK during that time casts plenty of doubt on him having found a new level.
  • He continues to have plenty of trouble with walks, as he sports the sixth lowest Zone% among all starters, along with a below average O-Swing%.
  • He's giving up more hard contact than ever before this season, and still allows fly balls at an above average rate. However, he's been helped by a low home run per fly ball rate, something that can't be counted on to continue.

Teheran has provided his owners with a strong ERA and 114 strikeouts through 23 starts this season, but the skills don't support what he's been doing. He's not missing all that many bats, is struggling with his control, and is fortunate to have just a 1.0 hr/9. Don't buy into Teheran's recent run, as his ERA the rest of the way is likely to be closer to his current xERA than his ERA to date.

 

Martinez performing well out of pen... Carlos Martinez (RHP, STL) suffered through an injury-riddled 2018 campaign, and lingering shoulder issues led to him getting a late start in 2019. He returned as a reliever in the middle of May, and has already racked up 11 saves. Let's see how the skills are looking.

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl  Dom  Cmd  FpK/SwK   Vel    G/L/F   H%/S%  hr/f  BPV
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ===  =======  ====  ========  =====  ====  ===
2015  180  3.01  3.28  3.2  9.2  2.9  63%/11%  95.3  54/20/25  32/78   11%  113  
2016  195  3.04  3.64  3.2  8.0  2.5  62%/10%  95.6  56/18/26  29/77   11%   91
2017  205  3.64  3.63  3.1  9.5  3.1  59%/11%  95.6  51/19/30  30/75   16%  116
2018  119  3.11  4.22  4.6  8.9  2.0  60%/11%  93.6  49/19/32  30/77    5%   64
2019   29  3.45  3.34  3.5  9.4  2.7  64%/13%  95.8  64/15/21  31/74   13%  118

Martinez has his skills back up to his usual level:

  • It's pretty typical for a pitcher to add velocity when shifting to the bullpen, but it's encouraging nonetheless, given his recent shoulder woes. He's also inducing more swings and misses, and his 25% K% matches his career high.
  • After really struggling with the walks in 2018, he has showed better control so far in 2019. He walked four batters in his first five innings, but has issued just seven free passes in his last 23.2 IP, and both his FpK and low 3's Ctl history suggest he may lower his walk rate a little more.
  • Always a ground ball pitcher, he's been more extreme in that regard this season, with the sixth highest ground ball rate among all pitchers with 20 or more innings.

Martinez was very fortunate to post such a low ERA in 2018, as the lesser skills, due mostly to a Ctl spike, were masked by a very low home run per fly ball rate. Injuries probably had something to do with his wildness, and now that he's back and healthy, the walks are under control, and he's missing more bats, while also keeping the ball on the ground at a very high rate. Martinez's future role remains unclear, but for the remainder of 2019, it looks like he'll be a reliable reliever, and one with a pretty firm hold on the closer role in St. Louis.


Click here to subscribe

  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.